Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hooray for minus 1 lb

Its only been a few days but I've lost 1 lb already. I'm using sparkpeople to track calories and exercise and there is a report on there for your daily calorie differential. It takes into account how many calories you burn just being (BMR), plus calories burned in exercise and calories eaten. The whole idea behind weight loss is that calories burned has to be greater than calories taken in. So lets do some math......since one pound of fat is 3,500 calories and I want to lose 2lb per week, my goal is to create a 1,000 calorie differential each day. When dieting the rule is to never eat less than 1,200 calories or your body will think its starving. My range set by spark people is 1,500-1,800. My BMR is about 2,300. So if I don't get any exercise but only eat 1,300 calories I still have a 1,000 differential. But that's hard to do, its easier to eat more calories and go for a walk to even it out. So far its only been 4 days but I've met my goal of a 1,000 differential, usually eating 1,600 calories and burning an additional 400-500 through exercise. Today I weighed myself to see if the scale would prove my math accurate. Yep, I lost one pound. Its a good start. However, realistically I don't think I can keep up the 1,000 differential everyday without feeling deprived, hungry and end up pigging out. So I'm giving myself a little slack one day a week if I need to.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Diet Day One

I'm always on a "diet" but never that committed to it. Occasionally I will be committed for a couple weeks then we'll have several family or friend get togethers that center on food and I'll fall off the wagon. Last fall I lost 17 lbs, since then I gain 7 back. The good news is I'm still down ten pounds, the bad news is I could be down 17. My goal for now is to lose 20 lbs by December 1st. Its a steep goal but can totally be done following the 2lbs per week rule, I have 10 weeks. Here are my 3 main motivating factors- 1. We will start an IUI cycle in December and 20 less pounds could help 2. There is possibly a vacation somewhere fun happening in December and 3. We have a good friend's wedding to go to in December. Now motivation is always what gets me but this is a good time of year because with harvest being DH's busy season he rarely eats at home and we rarely go out. Meaning I'm pretty much on my own for meals and I don't have to cook much, making dieting much easier. I'm a huge fan of SparkPeople so I'll be going back to that for record keeping. If anyone has any other resources or helpful support or motivation ideas please share. Lets hope I can stick with it this time!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Letter From A Friend

Today we got a letter in the mail from friends of ours who are getting married in December. First of all just getting a letter via snail mail was exciting - we ususally don't get anything in our mail box except bills! They had an engaged couple retreat as part of their premarital counseling and I think writing this letter is something they were asked to do. Here is part of what they wrote:

"B & I want to thank you for being such good role models as a couple to us. During our weekend at Engaged Encounter we realized how good of a couple the two of you make. We are glad we have a chance to witness through the two of you, just how a strong a couple can grow together."

DH and I really try to quietly live our lives as an example to others, we try to be the best people we can be and lead by example. Its reassuring to know that someone is noticing and at least we are making a difference in someone's life. Our Pastor always says the best way to share our faith is to quietly live it. Even if this letter was required as part of their course, I'm honored they chose us.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcome ICLWers!

Thanks for checking out my blog ICLWers! This is my first month participating so I'm very excited! I think its a great way to encourage comments and feedback. You can read more about our TTC history in past posts. I'm not good at labeling them so I'll make that my goal for the next ICLW. Here's a brief history for those of you too lazy to read through earlier posts :)

DH and I live in a small town in rural MN. I work for the postal service and DH works on my family's farm. Although we live in town we have our little hobby farm at my parent's. We have chickens, goats, sheep, and sometimes baby cows. I don't love gardening but I love having our own home grown food, which I preserve and can as much as possible. Its a new hobby but I'm liking it so far, I can't wait to open up all those preserved goodies this winter. I also love baking, but not so much cooking. Could be something to do with my sweet tooth. I try to get to the gym and work out a lot, I used to be in good shape, before all those fertility drug & stress pounds. Now its taking some work and some dedication to get back where I used to be.

My DH and I have been TTC for almost 4 years. We suspected we would have trouble right away because of a surgery my DH when he was an infant. They said it wouldn't effect his fertility but after 7 months he finally convinced his doctor to order a semen analysis. My doctor was still insisting we keep trying. The first test was devastating, only 140,000 sperm in the whole sample. The second test wasn't so bad but the nurse and I had a communication problem and she said it was about the same as the previous SA. I later found out when I got copies of everything that it was in fact 14mil/ml, not anywhere near the same as the first. I was very frustrated because we would have done IUIs right away if I knew it was 14 mil. DH has had a ton of SAs and we eventually determined that no matter what he does or doesn't do he seems to follow a specific pattern over the course of the year. Near normal in late December-January and then around 5mil/ml most of the year until mid-summer when it falls back to the 100,000 range until December. We've done 3 IUIs, all negative but they were done at a bad time of the year and we had only 1 mil post wash. This winter is the first time we will be doing an IUI during his good months. He tried about everything anyone ever suggested. Right now he's taking a vitamin regimen mostly for his health but we're hoping its good for his sperm too. It consists of MegaMen Multivitamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Omega 3, Astafactor (antioxident) and Jing Qi (herbal combo from our acupunturist).

In January of 2009 we did IVF w/ICSI. We were pregnant and thrilled about it until our 6 week ultrasound. Anxious to see the heartbeat we instead saw an empty sac- blighted ovum. We were crushed. Since then we haven't done anymore treatments, partly our choice and partly because of our RE. He's the only one in the area and I've never liked him. Even when DH's numbers are near normal he says he won't do any more IUIs. He will only do IVF or donor sperm with us. So I broke up with him:) I was looking for a new OB/GYN just for my annual and checked out internet profiles of everyone in the area. I finally decided on one, only to find out that he does IUIs! After I previously called every clinic in the area and everyone said there is only one fertility doctor in the whole city. I really liked this new doctor and I'm excited to work with him this winter.

In the real world, -outside my infertility realm- I have seen my sister in law come into our family and have two babies with no trouble at all. We all know how hard that can be. I was so bitter and angry the first time around that I avoided them as much as possible and now regret not bonding with my nephew-self preservation you know. This time around I'm totally in love with my niece and very bonded with her. Its hard sometimes but sometimes its awesome and makes me so happy. Our faith is really important to us, I don't know how we would survive IF without it. You'll see a lot about that here.

Come back soon ICLWers! Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Tough Weekend

We had a family dinner this weekend and it was tough. I don't understand why sometimes its so hard and other times it makes me so happy. This time I'm blaming the fact that AF is due in a few days making me emotional. I was holding my niece and she went to sleep on my shoulder and stayed there for over an hour. I looked down at her peaceful little face and felt such love for her that my heart started breaking again. Breaking for my own little one. I can't imagine the love I would feel for my own. How overwhelming it must be to be a mother. We went home and I went on all night to DH about how badly I want a baby and maybe we should try harder. Like maybe if we had the money I would even do IVF again. I so wish the economy was good and stable right now. If I knew the future looked promising I would go in debt again over another IVF. But for now I guess I'll just look forward to an IUI in 3 months. At least it improves our odds a little.

On the other hand about a week ago I was babysitting my niece and she's had a bad case of colic. I've heard it goes away after three months but for now its not a lot of fun to babysit her, it was actually a lot of work. I came home that night and told DH how glad I am that we don't have kids because the truth is I'm just too selfish at this point. I can't imagine giving up all my free time and sleep for a child. But I know it would be different if I actually had one. Because once she settled down and I kissed her little forehead, everything felt so right and perfect all the way down to the deepest part of my heart. I can deny it and try to talk myself out of it all I want but deep down God gave me a mother's heart. I just can't figure out why He would do that and then not make me a mother. Seems like a waste of good talent doesn't it? Knowing that God doesn't waste anything I suppose my only choice is to keep listening to His voice and going where He leads me.

This weekend DH and I watched P.S. I Love You. I hated it, it was sad and depressing. Sure it was a sweet story but it felt all too much like something I might experience someday. I can't stand the thought of losing DH and being a widow at such a young age. I know it happens everyday and could very well happen to me but I'd rather not think about it. But it did really make me appreciate the time I do have with DH and thankful that I might not have children but I do have a wonderful husband.

I added a poll on the side for new blog titles. Please vote! I'll explain them briefly. Breaking Free refers to a book I read by Beth Moore that really changed the way I think about things and was critical for me dealing with our infertility. Breaking Free from the hold that infertility had on me was a huge step but breaking free can be about more than infertility. I read once that God gives us all the faith we need on the day we are baptized so we don't ever grow our faith we only grow in our understanding of it. The same is true of peace, we all have it inside next to our faith, we just need to learn to activate it, instead of waiting for it to magically happen, hence the title Activating Peace. Surrender is Stronger is a line from the FFH song I posted earlier this week. Kind of the same idea as breaking free but I like how it implies strength from surrender which most people think means giving up. Which is also what a lot of people think we've done by not continuing treatments or adoption at this time. This blog was meant to shine....taken from an earlier post about Lifelight and letting my life light shine. A heart mended refers to how Jesus is the great physician and heals hearts not with band aids but by making it new again. Finding joy in the storm refers to not always being happy in our trials but always being joyful in Christ our Savior. Please vote on whichever title you feel best describes my blog. I know I don't have a lot of readers but I love to hear what you think!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Double Shot of Songs That Speak

I'm sure I must be breaking some kind of blogger rule by posting twice on the same day but this is another song recommended by a friend and fellow blogger. She was right, I do like this song -but I'm pretty easy to make happy when it comes to music :)

At the risk of getting political let me share what this song says to me. At my house we're big fans of Glenn Beck and if you don't know he recently had a rally in Washington D.C. called Restoring Honor. He has really changed direction for his Fox News show the past year and its becoming less political and more about America finding God again and having a revival or Great Awakening. It seems to be happening too, all across the country people are uniting on Christian principles. There's no need to say America has problems, things don't look good for future generations at this point. At the rally Glenn Beck issued a 40 Day/40 Night Challenge. Check it out here. He's basically asking American's to pledge to practice faith, hope and charity AND get on their actual knees and pray at least once a day. Not praying in your car, not as your head hits the pillow but actually bow down on your knees and pray before your heavenly Father. Yes, Glenn Beck is a topic of great controversay but how can you argue with what he's asking? How can anything but good come of that? So as part of this I'm trying to be more honest and a better person in my own life. What's really getting to me lately is back stabbing at work. I've noticed a lot more lately about how everyone talks behind everyone else's back and it irritates. Besides that I know I'm not an exception and they probably say awful things about me too. So one thing I'm working on is to not say anything about anyone to anyone - unless I wouldn't mind saying it that person myself. And to discourage others from saying harsh words also. Its a start.

So that's what this song means to me, it means that we as individuals need to surrender all of our sins and all of our vices and be more honorable individuals. Our country is in sorry shape right now, many American's are hurting and desperate for help, but the government is not going to save them. Only Jesus can save them (us). Many people just want thier free handout, they don't want to pay the asking price. Its starts with one, you have to fix yourself before America will thrive again. So "come undone, surrender is stronger". Commit to Christ and pledge to make a serious effort everyday to restore your relationship with God and be an honorable person. Be the change you want to see in others - didn't somone famous say that?

Another Song That Speaks

I saw this on another blog and I wanted to share it too. I know I've been posting a lot of songs lately but I don't have much else exciting to blog about. Songs say different things to different people but to me this one speaks to the pain of losing our baby and our dreams. It reminds me of the part from "Facing The Giants" where she is in the parking lot after more bad news from the doctor and says "I will still love you Lord" as she's crying. How many times have a bawled my eyes out in the parking lot of the clinic? I often wonder if anyone walks by and knows exactly why I'm crying. How many other women go to the parking lot and cry after a visit to the RE? Although I've never witnessed anyone else doing it I'm sure it happens a lot. What a great song to remind us that no matter what God still loves us and we should still love Him. But its not just about infertility, the world is full of pain and hardship and we must always remember to put Him first - no matter what. He never leaves us and could change our circumstances in an instant but if He doesn't, it shouldn't change our relationship with Him. No matter how bad things seem.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Blog Title

I've been thinking for a while that "While I'm Waiting" isn't quite the right title for my blog anymore. Today I found another IF blogger with that same title and decided its time to make a change. I'm open to suggestions, anyone reading this have any ideas for a title that would more accurately describe this blog? Please share!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This Life Was Meant To Shine

This past weekend we went to Lifelight Music Festival. Everytime I've been there before or to any kind of Christian music concert I have a "God Moment". A moment where I feel His presence and feel Him put His healing hand on my heart. This time I didn't have that moment and I'm feeling a little disappointed by it. No song or statement particularly spoke to my heart. I've been thinking about this and trying to figure out why. I really think that I just don't have the pain I used to. I've spent millions of tear on infertility and I just didn't have any this time. All I can think about lately is how much worse my life could be. I would take infertility over a hundred other worse things. I have my DH, my dog, my parents, my health, my church, my job, my Savior. The other day I actually said outloud, "well we've never been through anything really difficult or painful.....oh wait..." I haven't exactly forgotten the pain of losing our babies or the pain of losing our dreams for the future but in some ways I have forgotten. I can still remember how bad it hurt like it was yesterday but its filed away in the back of my brain, my heart is healed and I no longer have that constant ache reminding me. Some days I just feel guilty for not feeling sorry for myself anymore and some days I feel like I'm missing part of me, the part that used to sad all the time. I feel like I'm suppose to forever be sad about my babies that went to heaven and all my babies that will never be. But I'm quite sure its Satan himself whispering those destructive thoughts in my head.

Now to contradict all my blogging about letting IF go......December/January doesn't seem that far away and I'm sort of getting excited to try another IUI with the new doctor. But I'm almost equally afraid it will work as I am afraid that it won't work. However the great part about the whole situation is that I don't have to choose whether I want it to work or not because I have no say in it. I just have to do what is required physically and financially and let God decide how it works out. He knows best. If it still isn't our time that's okay, we're going to put forth the money and effort regardless of outcome. I do have to say that the time does feel like it could be right for this to work. In the past I've asked myself "why would this work now? what good has come from this trial? is it really time to move past infertility?" and each time I just felt like I wasn't finished with infertility yet. Even when our IVF worked I actually said to DH before we did it that I thought it would work but we'd probably have a miscarriage because that would provide the most opportunity for growth. This time my heart has changed. I'm a totally different and I think better person than I used to be. I really feel like I'm ready to be done with infertility, not that I've learned all I can learn from it but its just not forcing me to grow in my faith anymore. Sure there are still moments of unexpected tears but for the most part infertility is just not challenging me anymore. Who am I to say when my lesson is over though. God could have many more lessons to teach me though infertility for all I know. I do feel things are going to change somehow because I've become too comfortable with my infertility. Either we will get our miracle, which would greatly change our life and challenge our faith in new ways...or we will endure another loss somehow made more painful that the first. I almost feel like just putting these thoughts into words is somehow challenging God to bring me a new more difficult trial. I hope that's not how it is but the truth is I'm bored. I need a new challenge, new excitement. I love my life the way it is but its time for something new.

One thing I did take away from Lifelight was something MercyMe said about their song "This Life." The lead singer said that some of the most boring, grumpy people he knows are Christians who think they are just surviving until they can get to heaven. He said we are meant to enjoy this life and live it to its fullest. God has blessed this world with many things to be joyful about and "we were meant to shine, not just survive." So I'm going to make a more thoughtful effort to make sure my life shines - because it was meant to. God didn't put me here just to put in my time and take a bunch of tests before I get to heaven.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Unexpected Tears

I haven't posted in a while because it just seems I have nothing to say. Life has been rather blah lately. I'm not depressed or cranky but just kinda going through the motions. I feel as though my joy tank is running on empty these days. Then I got to thinking... well I haven't exactly filled up for a while. You see two weeks ago we skipped church cause DH was out of town. Last week we went but there was a substitute pastor who had a good message but it just didn't speak to my heart and we sat towards the back of the church and I never feel as connected to God as when we are right up front. I haven't been reading or praying much either. Its no wonder I'm feeling the way I am. Next week our pastor is back from vacation and our Sunday bible study group will be starting again soon. And I might be crazy but I love advent and lent midweek services. I feel so much better when I get a double dose of church each week. I'm so blessed to be in a church where I can have a meaningful worship service. So many churches these days leave people still feeling empty and that's a shame because then they think God is not the answer to their trouble or that He can't fill that emptiness inside them. But He is the only One who can and its to bad the church can't reach out and show people that. It really is important to find a church that helps you connect with God on a personal level, its really meaningless without that.

I really wish that I had started this blog earlier on in our infertility journey. It has been so good for me to write things out and I wish I had done this during the most painful parts of our struggle. Now days I still feel the pain occasionally but for the most part infertility is not what defines us anymore. I heard once that we should pay attention to "unexpected tears". That means that when something upsets you and you start crying out of the blue, we should think it over and search through the tears to find what is still causing pain. Last night I was laying in bed trying to sleep and I just started crying, out of nowhere. Earlier a friend, who can be a real jerk sometimes, was making fun of my niece because she has an eye that is weak or lazy and often makes her look cross-eyed, especially in pictures. He was just joking around but it really upset me and I felt very defensive. As you all know I'm quite bonded with her. Last week I was holding her and she spit up all over me, it was nasty, but it didn't bother me a bit, even though she screamed the whole time I was there and holding her. I still loved her just as much as when she's sleeping. I wonder how can I love a little one so much and get so defensive over her, when she isn't even mine? And that makes me cry. I'm not sure why exactly and I don't know where those unexpected tears came from, perhaps just me mourning the loss of my future family.

Another blogger, Sas, shared this song on her blog. I've never heard it before and think its a great song so I wanted to share it too. You can listen to it here, or on her blog. So meaningful, no matter what your going through, infertility or otherwise.